Every day I wake up, I think, I am gonna rule the world and then I realize I can really only rule that which I control. Â I wish I controlled the Steelers. Â Pretty sure that if I did yesterday’s outcome would have been a little different. Â But I don’t, so what you saw yesterday was a hard-played, defensive battle for the win. Â The problem is, as SG’s Vice Chairman says, the Steelers came out playing checkers and the Bengals were playing chess. Â A defensive battle and the Bengals got the upper hand.
Just how well did the Bengals play? The Steelers were held to 226 total yards on offense and Ben was sacked 4 times. Â The Bengals covered up the receivers creating a problem for Ben being able to pass the ball. Â Santonio had 7 receptions for 88 yards and both Hines and Heath had 4 receptions for 24 and 26 yards respectively. Mike Wallace seemed to be open but had some incomplete passes (incomplete passes to Tone and Hines too). Wallace was able to grab one catch for 16 yards. Â From the beginning of the second half, I would have been happy to see some no huddle calls. Â I am not sure why the Steelers didn’t use no huddle and why they relied heavily on a passing game that was not working. Â I’m no NFL coach, clearly, but I question the play calls Arians made. Â In fact, it seems like Ben calling the plays on Monday in Denver made a big difference. Â Why not resort to those tactics yesterday just to create some separation?
The Steelers defense held the Bengals pretty tight as well….other than the kick-return for a TD and the Ben bad pass resulting in a deflection and interception, there weren’t a lot of big plays by the Bengals either. Â They were held to just 218 yards total offense with 61 rushing. Â And Chad Ochocinco was held to just 2 receptions for 29 yards. Â (Though he did throw a key block during the game to allow extra yardage…took a lesson from Hines, clearly). Â Woodley and Harrison each had a sack, but with Troy leaving early in the game, there just wasn’t opportunity for big plays.
The Bengals are a good team. Â Despite what many in Steeler Nation want to think, the Bengals were on their game. Â Not just yesterday, but they have been doing work all season. Â I’m not sure where the breakdown occurred for the Steelers – short week, problems with special teams (I think special teams might get a post dedicated all to themselves – especially Skippy), tough defense on the other side of the ball…I just don’t know. Â But it’s amazing to me how on one day this team can come out and look amazing and win a game I didn’t even expect to win (Denver, remember I have Steelers at 12-4 for the season) and then turn around and have such a bad showing. None of the key tactics that worked on Monday worked this Sunday.
But I do agree with Coach Tomlin to an extent, the Steelers weren’t “able to get the job done today and I think the Bengals had a lot to do with that,” he said in the post-game press conference. Â Coach went on to say, “We came in here today with the intent on playing winning football, whatever that entails, you know style points is not something that weâ€™re highly concerned about.Â We werenâ€™t able to put together enough plays to win the football game and thatâ€™s the reality of it.Â That game was far from perfect in a lot of ways, but we had the opportunity to make the difference in that game and we werenâ€™t able to do it as a team.”
Amen, Coach T. Â Let’s hope we get it together, get Troy healthy, and get back to Steelers football. Â There are still plenty of games yet to be played and while the end game is starting to come to light, it’s not over yet.